I was born in Oklahoma City and raised in the tiny (at the time) suburb of Mustang, Oklahoma. My Momma worked hard in jobs before and after raising her four children and lots harder while raising us as a (mostly) stay-at-home mom. Daddy was an IBEW Union Electrician when I was little and then started and operated a sign-making business, with Momma’s help, while we grew up.


As the oldest of four children, I helped out with the younger ones and lots of cousins. We all got plenty of experience in Momma’s huge gardens. Character is built by:

  • picking so many green beans in the hot sun that we filled up garbage bags, and washed them in the bathtub before canning them for winter.

  • Making our own pickles, sarsaparilla, and root beer

  • learning darkroom photo developing at home

  • Digging our own tornado shelter (water seeped in, not good)

Melissa photo at 9 months old
Melissa's college sorority photo

I was in plays and musicals and excelled in competitive speech and debate during high school, also earning good grades.


The first in my immediate family to graduate from college, I earned a degree in history with a minor in psychology. This degree included studies of political science and history at Oxford University funded by a scholarship. Right before law school and after four years of study, I earned my black belt in Shorin Ryu Karate.

My law studies took place at the University of Oklahoma, Oxford University, England, and the last year at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington.


As a newlywed, I moved away from Oklahoma for the first time in my life. We chose to come here to Washington because I researched it and figured it was the best place on earth to live. After my last year of law school at UPS, I studied for and passed the Bar Exam to become a lawyer.

While studying and for a short time after getting my law license, I worked in state jobs at the Department of Transportation (Federal Construction Contracts EEO enforcement), Human Rights Commission (Employment Discrimination Investigation), and Department of Licensing (Hearings Officer Judge). 

A lawyer recruited me into his law firm, handed me the family law cases he did not want, and I embarked upon my long career helping families through the court system.

Raising our son here in Tumwater has been a joy. I felt it was right to get back to my interest in good governance after my boy became an adult. I'm very blessed to have the support of family and friends as I run for office to become your next Port of Olympia Commissioner from District 3.



It has also been my honor to serve with more than a dozen local volunteer organizations, including taking leadership roles in several of them. Some of this volunteer work was:

  • Tumwater Planning Commissioner

  • Mentor/teacher for volunteer lawyers

  • Fundraiser for local charities

  • VP/President of Board, OUUC (church)

  • VP/President Thurston County Young Lawyers

  • Lawyer for The Olympia Free Clinic (medical)

  • Volunteer mediator

  • Consumer Advisory Committee, Group Health

  • Homeschool debate/speech competitions judge